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Club hits back at rumour-mongers

PUBLISHED: 11:30 22 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:53 03 March 2010

STOP ruining our biggest ever night.

That was the message from Ipswich Town Football Club today ahead of one of their biggest games for many years.

Manager George Burley took a break from preparing for the UEFA Cup match against Inter Milan at Portman Road tonight to knock down a string of rumours that have been sweeping the town claiming that there is unrest at the club.

STOP ruining our biggest ever night.

That was the message from Ipswich Town Football Club today ahead of one of their biggest games for many years.

Manager George Burley took a break from preparing for the UEFA Cup match against Inter Milan at Portman Road tonight to knock down a string of rumours that have been sweeping the town claiming that there is unrest at the club.

Town face Inter Milan in the third round of the UEFA Cup at Portman Road in a glamour tie that will always feature high in the list of the Tractor Boy' most memorable games.

A defiant Burley said that there is no truth in allegations that ace striker Marcus Stewart suffered his broken jaw following a training ground fight with a team mate.

And the players have been quick to back the manager's claim that all is well in the Town camp.

Talk of certain players sleeping with other players' wives have been rife and given as a reason for the poor form that has seen Town slump from their magnificent fifth place in the Premiership last season to second from bottom this campaign – claims vehemently denied by players.

Mighty Inter Milan are in town with Portman Road the place to be on a day when Ipswich votes for a new MP.

The game is being shown live on BBC-2 and much media attention is today being centred on Ipswich with a successor to the late Jamie Cann being decided through the ballot box.

A composed and confident Burley said today: "I was standing two yards away when Pablo Counago kicked Marcus Stewart's chin during a five-a-side training ground game last Saturday.

"It was a complete accident as Marcus stooped a little low and Pablo caught his chin. It was something that happens from time to time.

"Ipswich is a small town and I hear many of the rumours myself.

"These are just not true. Some taxi drivers appear to know more about what is going on at the club than we do.

"The spirit in the camp is excellent - there is no doubt about that."

Last season when Town were riding high and everything in the garden was rosy there was no hint of any problems in the Town camp.

Nowadays rumours are rife about who is sleeping with who's wife and who is punching who.

It has got so bad that Dutch defender Fabian Wilnis has decided to go public and knock the stories on the head once and for all.

Wilnis said: "There has been a lot of rumours flying around about team-mates sleeping with other players' wives, and that people have been arguing and fighting off the pitch, but I can say categorically that it's all bull.

"I understand that rumours, gossip and backstabbing can be a problem when your team is struggling but it's not what we need. Now is the time when you need everyone pulling together and focusing on the important job of getting out of the current situation."

Wilnis hopes he will be involved against Inter tonight.

He added: "I'm looking forward to the game, it will be a great night for everyone at the club and hopefully I'll get my chance to play.

"I watched their league game with Roma at the weekend and they are a very good side. Even without Ronaldo and Vieri, Milan have so many good players but we are capable of beating them."

Website: www.wilnis.co.uk

* What do you think of the knockers? Have you got a view on the rumours? If so write, fax or email us at Evening Star Newsdesk, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, fax 01473 225296 or email StarNews@ecng.co.uk

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